Members of the Sector 53 furniture market committee are planning to meet local leaders on Wednesday to demand their relocation and identify separate land for the purpose after seven shops were gutted in a major fire on Tuesday.
At least seven fire incidents have taken place in the market in the last 15 years. There are several shopkeepers whose shops were gutted in fire at least twice or thrice.
The market was established in 1990 and it has not got authorisation since then. There are a total of 114 shops here. The furniture made here is sold across the region — Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu — besides catering to the local market. Shop number 17, Sambee Furnitures, has been gutted for the second time in the last five years.
“It is not easy to start a business from the scratch, but the administration will not understand that. Five years ago, I met the then UT deputy commissioner, who assured me to allocate us land soon, but nothing has been done so far,” said Ram Rattan, owner of Sambee Furnitures.
Karamjeet Singh, owner of Harkrishan Furniture said, “I am running this shop for the past 30 years and have seen several fire incidents. Had the UT administration allotted us land to construct shops, such fire incidents could have been stopped.”
“If the administration can authorise Shastri Market in Sector 22 and Palika Bazaar in Sector 19, then why not the Furniture market?” he questioned. The shopkeepers claimed that the then UT administrators OP Verma and Gen SF Rodrigues (retd) had assured to allot them land in 2004 and 2009 respectively, but nothing has been done.
Satish Bhandari, president, furniture market association, said, “On Wednesday, we will meet Chandigarh BJP president Sanjay Tandon and hand over a memorandum demanding separate land or authorisation of these shops.”